Each year volunteers take time to visit veterans at the Buffalo VA Hospital to deliver hand-made Valentine's Day cards made by area school children.  This year Liz Mantel and I visited with some of the veterans in an outpatient clinic and it's always interesting to hear some of the stories the veterans are willing to tell.

One vet who's a native of Long Island served time in Viet Nam and in Europe and because of his talents in music was chosen to perform in a rock band made up of Army privates who got to entertain political dignitaries and military officers during official functions.  He chose to move to Western New York because of the top-notch services available at the Buffalo VA Hospital.

Dale and Liz with UB football coach Lance Leipold (Liz Mantel photo)

There was a big crowd of volunteers this year and among them were:

  • Buffalo Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander
  • UB football coach Lance Liepold and members of the coaching staff
  • Buffalo Bills alumni including Will Fowler and Booker Edgerson
  • Members of the Buffalo Beauts championship hockey team
  • Buffalo Bisons mascot Buster Bison
  • Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard
  • Buffalo Dolls in Fine Form
Liz Mantel photo

The event is called National Salute to Veterans Patients Day, an idea introduced by advice columnist Ann Landers who suggested Valentine's Day as a perfect day to send Valentine's wishes to hospitalized veterans to thank them for their services.  This year's National Salute was the 40th annual.